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Varsity football wins Branding Iron for the second consecutive year

Varsity football defeated Diamond Bar High School 27-20 in the annual Branding Iron game Friday, Aug. 17 at Diamond Bar High School. The game was concluded with less than a minute remaining because of a false shooting threat.

In the first quarter, the Mustangs pressured the Brahmas’ offense, with linebacker junior Jonathan Kamayatsu making multiple tackles. Defensive tackle senior William von Goeben added to it by sacking the Brahmas’ quarterback twice. Four minutes into the quarter, the Brahmas punted the ball 30 yards, but the Mustangs returned it to the Brahmas’ 35 yard line. Shortly after, the Mustangs pushed down the field and cornerback senior Alex Chow scored the first touchdown with 5:49 remaining, making the score 7-0. However, the Brahmas responded with a touchdown to tie the quarter 7-7.  

“In the first quarter, I felt pretty tired because they were running a hurry-up offense, [and] I didn’t expect that to happen. I was really not nervous [about it] because [the crowd] got all of us motivated and pumped,” defensive end senior Jacob Gaskin said. “It got us hyped on the field and helped us do our plays.”

Starting the second quarter, the Mustangs and the Brahmas exchanged possessions, with both teams unable to score. With 8:07 left, the Brahmas gained possession of the ball at the Mustangs’ 35 yard line and scored a touchdown, taking the lead 7-14. In the third quarter, the wide receiver senior Jared Arellano carried the ball 11 yards to secure his first touchdown with 1:37 left, making the score 14-14.     

“During halftime, [varsity coach Eric Peralta] got all the seniors together and what he was telling us was that it all boils down to how bad you want it. That kind of [changed] all of the seniors’ mindsets and that pushed it to the rest of the players,” von Goeben said. “[Our coaches] told us what it is, they were straightforward with us, they didn’t sugar coat anything. They said if you don’t give your all you’re going to lose this game plain and simple.”

In Diamond Bar’s first possession of the fourth quarter, Walnut’s defensive line held Diamond Bar at the 1 yard line to prevent a touchdown. In Walnut’s first possession of the quarter, Arellano made an 88 yard run to score his second touchdown of the night, bringing the score to 21-14. With seven minutes left in the quarter, Walnut recovered a fumble made by Diamond Bar, allowing Arellano to score his third touchdown. Diamond Bar scored the final touchdown of the night, making the score 27-20 with five minutes left.

“I thought it was a great game, everyone gave their full effort [and] it was just amazing how we 16 guys pushed through the pain and tiredness,” Gaskin said. “Everyone was hurting, it wasn’t pretty. Shoulders were banged up, our legs were hurting. So we pushed through that and won the game.”

With 59.4 seconds left, the game was concluded because of a false threat, leading to an evacuation of the stadium by players, coaching staff and fans. The game ended 27-20, bringing the Mustangs’ Branding Iron streak to two years.

“I remember standing there and we were about to come out in victory formation. [Then] the Diamond Bar coach actually comes out onto the field, took off his headset, and said to run, [because] there was a school shooter,” von Goeben said. “Right when he said that, the whole Diamond Bar team started running. They started running, and that made me want to immediately start running.”

Minutes later, the threat was pronounced non-credible, and Principal Brandon Dade emailed a debrief of the situation to parents and students. Additional information about the false threat can be found here.

By Jacob Khuu and Bhalpriya Sandhu, Sports editors
Photo by Isaac Le